Fall From Grace

Fall From Grace

Fall From Grace by J. Edward Ritchie (Fantasy)

Fall From Grace is a riveting fictional account of the heavenly schism that turns brother angels Michael and Satanail into arch enemies, destroys the peace and tranquility of heaven, and results in the emergence of Satan and the concept of eternal damnation.

Designated by the Creator as His Word and His Hand, respectively, Michael and Satanail are the most highly revered among the seven Seraphim — the highest order in the angelic hierarchy. In an environment free from discord, they have always maintained a good-natured rivalry built on mutual respect and brotherly love. But when the Creator reveals the existence of Mankind only to Michael, Satanail is filled with resentment — an unfamiliar emotion he strives to contain. To make matters worse, Michael states that the Creator expects the angels to protect mankind from destroying itself. Satanail argues against such subservience, his anger boiling into rebellion and open defiance. Angels at all levels are forced to choose sides as a battle between good and evil commences.

J. Edward Ritchie has researched the religious and mythological lore of celestial beings to produce a fascinating, complex heavenly society populated by three-dimensional characters with strong personalities, unique capabilities, and credible emotions and motives. Satanail is a likeable individual, and his metamorphosis into Satan is not without internal conflict. The familiar archangels of my childhood — Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael — are among the seven Seraphim with dominion over seven regions of heaven, each contributing to the needs of the heavenly population known as the Host. Ritchie’s use of language is eloquent, in keeping with the nature of the story to be told, and he captured my interest from the very beginning. Battle scenes and other scenes do contain a fair amount of gory detail.

All in all, I found it to be a very satisfying book with a number of important messages, including this from Gabriel when Michael suffers from profound doubts about the decisions he has made: “I believe that we all have roles in this life. Maybe they’re not the ones we’d hoped for, maybe we even stray from them, but they’re ours to own. So we do it, because that’s what needs to be done. Those who can’t understand that will always be followers, never leaders.”

Grandma gives Fall From Grace five stars. 5 stars

Bella Reads and Reviews received a free copy from the author in return for an honest review.

Savaged Lands

Savaged Lands

Savaged Lands by Lana Kortchik (Historical Fiction)

Savaged Lands tells the story of a family in Nazi-occupied Ukraine during World War II as seen through the eyes of the elder teen-aged daughter, Natasha. It is also a love story and a testament to human endurance and survival under the worst of circumstances.

In September, 1941, Natasha, her younger sister and brother, parents, and maternal grandparents are living together in Kiev when the Nazi occupation begins. An older brother is already serving in the Soviet Army. Things soon take a turn for the worse as German soldiers begin a brutal campaign against the citizens of Kiev, confiscating their radios and all of their food, commandeering their homes and their warm clothing, and subjecting them to continuous terror and fear. Jewish families, including that of Natasha’s best friend, are driven from their homes and marched through the streets, never to be seen again. Natasha’s father is arrested and sent to a labor camp. Her sister’s fiancé disappears. When the harsh Ukrainian winter sets in, things only get worse for those who remain. Meanwhile Natasha and a Hungarian soldier fall in love, a dangerous relationship for both of them if they are caught together.

Lana Kortchik is a gifted writer whose prose pulled me right in. Her knowledge of Kiev and its history made this an absorbing read, simultaneously heartbreaking and uplifting because the suffering, the hardships, the losses, and the triumphs were real. She created well-developed characters with weaknesses I could understand, strengths I could believe in, and fates I cared about. I found myself reading this book late into the night.

Grandma gives Savaged Lands five stars. 5 stars

Bella Reads and Reviews received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Save

Save